This challenge would have been just as jarring for the Jews as it is for us. The deeper meaning, of course, is that sinners aren't "them," sinners are “us.” We are sinners. And so, we must each commit ourselves to more than merely what we are... we must commit ourselves to what we must be.
If this sounds a little Joel Olsteen, don't fret. Whereas the smile-your-way-to-heaven Christians have got a little bit of the meaning right, they've missed the call and the command. The call is to see myself as a sinner, but the command is to do something about it… And there's two parts to that command. On the one hand, there is the command to stop being a sinner! St. Theresa of Avila was clear that the first step of true prayer is to rid oneself of mortal sin. Of course, we will never succeed completely, but the effort to avoid sin is a great virtue. On the other hand, the command is evangelical. Our efforts must shine and be seen (by those who see - we're not to show off) as markedly better than the mediocre Pharisees and the sinful tax collectors.
But here's the one extra wrinkle, the easy stuff is easy for a reason! And this is where Jesus really gets into our business. The easy stuff just isn't sufficient. It's not amazing to come to the early Mass if you're awake anyway. It's not praiseworthy to be kind if you're naturally mellow. It's not evangelical or virtuous to do anything that is just a part of who you are. It's the above and beyond that God wants. It's the "love thy enemy" that really shows forth God's goodness. It's the thing that causes suffering or frustration or real inconvenience that will be seen in heaven and that will be a part of your Judgement. What's easy is easy for a reason…
Insights From Second Street
The time has come once again for the Bishop’s annual appeal. Each year, the Bishop uses this time to evaluate priorities, consider realistic options, and make concrete plans for the next few years. Even in a small diocese like ours with only 50 parishes, that’s tough work. There’s a delicate balance between investing in future seminarians, assisting the poor and needy, providing for the education of the faithful, and maintaining the infrastructure that makes any of these works possible. All this is made more complicated by new laws which inhibit our religious freedom and unjustly confiscate the gifts that you make to us for the immoral ends of our national leaders. And just when the Bishop thinks he’s got it all lined up and figured out - the Holy Spirit arrives to stir it all up again… No wonder Bishop Greco used to say that “there’s a crown of thorns hidden beneath the mitre.”
As the appeal begins, I want to encourage those who can to be generous. I made it part of my personal code when I was ordained that I would not shill for money, and I never have. I’m not going to guilt you into giving. But as I wrote when the Deacon from Food For The Poor was here, I hope you see this as an opportunity… Not to dole out cash, but to give something of yourself to the Lord. More than the need, the weekly collection is about the opportunity. And so here - more than the need - the opportunity for giving of ourselves to the Lord is what lies at the heart of this appeal.
Don’t give if you feel guilted into it. Don’t give because the cause is just. Don’t give because you like the Bishop (or anyone else). Give because God calls for us to give alms. He calls for charity, not just justice. Let our gifts to the Lord be gifts from a loving heart!
by: Tommy Myrick
In the old calendar, there is a “mini” season of Lent before Lent. They are Septuagesima and Sexagesima Sunday. These Sundays mark 70 days and 60 days before Easter respectively. It seems that the traditional calendar was very much about preparedness. Are we ready for the Season of Lent?
From my few years of being a practicing Catholic, it appears that what people plan for Lent usually falls into two camps: What are you adding? -or- What are you quitting? It is mandated by the church that as Catholics we must fast and abstain for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and that for all Fridays in Lent we must abstain from meat. For some of us this is penance enough. Others still wish to “do more” or “deny more.”
I would encourage you during this season to focus simply on “growing closer to the Lord.” Fasting and penance are ways to help get us there. Going to daily Mass, saying the Rosary, and other devotions are great ways to do that too. Regardless of whether you prefer to add more things to your list, or deny yourself certain pleasures, the heart of it should always be to grow closer to the Lord. The beautiful thing about this is that Jesus meets us where we are, so those ways can be different for all of us. I pray that we all find ways this Lent to draw nearer to our Lord. May He inspire us to do whatever is necessary to grow closer to Him.
LENTEN SPIRITUAL EXERCISES Throughout Lent, Father will be in the confessional every Tuesday (beginning Tue, 3/11) from 5p to 6p. Every Friday of Lent (beginning Fri, 3/7), Father will pray the Stations of the Cross at 5:15p. Remember that every Friday of Lent is a day of Abstinence from meat and meat products. The Church defines meat as land animals and birds. (If you are in Houma, you may eat Alligator or Nutrea by special decree of the Pope.) Everyone from the age of 14 to 60 is obliged to keep this abstinence and to offer up some additional penance for the Lenten season.
ASH WEDNESDAY IS NEXT WEDNESDAY, 3/5 It is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation, but it is a day of mandatory fasting and abstinence from meat and meat products. Everyone is encouraged to begin Lent right by observing the requirement to fast and, if possible, by attending Holy Mass and receiving your ashes. Masses will be offered on Wednesday at 6:30a and 6p in the Church and at 9a at St. Mary’s School.
Parish Mission: March 11-13 Beginning Tue, 3/11, and ending Thu, 3/13, internationally acclaimed speaker and expert, Fr. John Zuhsdorf will present a three part mission on our Catholic Identity and what he calls the “Marshal Plan” for the Church. Talks will begin at 6p each night. Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog - What Does the Prayer Really Say? - has upward of 30 million views and he is truly a dynamic and worthwhile speaker! We also flew him in from across the country… So please plan to attend these excellent presentations!
To the Immaculate Conception Family,
Food For The Poor wishes to thank you for the welcome you extended to Deacon Mitchell on his recent visit to your parish. On behalf of our less fortunate brothers and sisters of Latin America and the Caribbean, we thank you for having shared in their lives. They, and you, are blessed by your generosity.
The Food For The Poor Family
- Sat, 2/22, Basilican Feast Day - Chair of St. Peter, Holy Mass @ 8a & 4p
- Wed, 2/26, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Mon-Tue, 3/3 - 3/4, Mardi Gras Holiday, NO School & Parish Office CLOSED
- Wed, 3/5, Ash Wednesday - Day of Fasting & Abstinence - Holy Mass @ 6:30a, 9a(SMS), & 6p
- Wed, 3/5, CCD Mass, 6p @ The Minor Basilica
- Fri, 3/7, Benediction & Way of the Cross, 5:15p
- Tue-Thu, 3/11-3/13, Parish Mission: Fr. John Zuhlsdorf - 6p each night, Confessions 5-6p
- Wed, 3/12, CCD, but NO Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Thu, 3/13, Basilican Feast Day: Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Holy Mass @ 6:30a & 6p
Our Sunday Collection last week was $8,991.
Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!
For more information on our finances, click here.
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 2/22 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Carl Henry, (EMHC-CH) • Jimmy Gunter, Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • M.Thibodaux, D.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 2/23 9a Roger Cunningham, (Lector) • Jeff & Carol Green, (EMHC-CH) • Michael King, (EMHC-CI) • G.Ingrish, J.H.Ingrish, J.Miley, (Altar Boys)
Sun 2/23 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CH) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • S.Maggio, V.Maggio, W.Mayeux, (Altar Boys)
Sat 3/1 4p Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Red & Jo Lapeyrouse, (EMHC-CH) • Kathleen Hicks, Nita Maggio, (EMHC-CI) • D.Bennett, J.Friedel, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/2 9a Sydney Frederick, (Lector) • James & Alice Barrios, (EMHC-CH) • Aimee Wright, (EMHC-CI) • A.Lirette, M.Vienne, P.Vienne, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/2 11a Ed Giering, (Lector) • Joseph Sklar, Sam Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CI) • J.Parker, A.Parker, D.Thompson, (Altar Boys)
*Altar Boys who are not scheduled may serve if space permits. Come to the Sacristy 10 minutes before Mass.
Memorials & Prayer Intentions
The Sanctuary Candle and Sanctuary Flowers may be offered in memory of a loved one by contacting the office.
- Sat 4p: Curtis Guillet
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Richard Ragland & Thomas Emile Scott
- Sun 5p: Msgr. Roland Bordelon
- Mon 6:30a: Daniel Chesal
- Mon 8a: John Andries
- Tue 6:30a: Helen Bostick
- Wed 6:30a: Calvert Scott
- Thu 6:30a: Msgr. Roland Bordelon
- Thu 9a: SMS Students & Faculty
- Fri 6:30a: Red & Sadie Thomas
- Sat 8a: Tom Palmer
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people. And that, priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization.
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Lauren Bienvenu, Mark Birch, Bill Boone, Kathy Bostick, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Emilia Cofio, Woody Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Marguerite Felchle, Alma Fernandez, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Vicki Gahagan, Sophie Gill, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Mary Keyser, Paul Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Martha LaCaze, Jheanny Ladao, Daniel Laroux, Jane Locke, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Amanda Rozman, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Billy Smith, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Billie Vercher, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, & Janine Waters